Kento Momota & Lin Dan advance, Shi Yuqi crashes out

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Kento Momota looking to win the Japan Open in front of his home crowd. (photo: AFP)
Kento Momota looking to win the Japan Open in front of his home crowd. (photo: AFP)

Tokyo: Most of the higher seeds posted wins at the 2018 Japan Open on Tuesday, setting up the potential for some exciting action in the second round.

The reigning World Champion Kento Momota who won his maiden world title in Nanjing, China last month, completed a remarkable opener as he beat Anders Antonsen of Denmark 21-9, 21-10 on Tuesday to set up a second round encounter with another Denmark player Rasmus Gemke on Thursday.

It was obvious that Momota was still unhappy with his round of 16th exit from the Asian Games individual event two weeks ago.

“After returning to Japan, I made a thorough evaluation of my defeat and I noticed that I was too conservative. So before the start of Japan Open, I have been focusing on strengthening my offensive skill, and the results of the training were reflected in today’s game,” said Momota.

When asked about how did he feel about playing at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza which will be used as the venue for badminton in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Momota said: “I can see the shuttlecock clearly and there’s very little drift. The ceiling height is great. I feel completely comfortable playing at this venue.”

The unseeded Lin Dan of China had to toil hard to overcome Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand 16-21, 21-19, 21-10 in 79 minutes. He will meet No.5 seed Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan next.

Thai shuttler Khosit Phetpradab pulled off a shocker on Tuesday as he eliminated No. 2 seed Shi Yuqi of China 21-18, 24-22 in 48 minutes. Although Shi was leading 12-4 in the second set, Phetpradab was able to rally from behind to seal the victory.

Another upset in men’s singles came at the end of Tuesday as reigning Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie of Indonesia couldn’t withstand the attacks from H. S Prannoy of India, going down to the Indian 18-21, 17-21.

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